The Kyrie Irving trade request has taken over the NBA landscape in late July. Some of that is simply due to the general lull in terms of basketball content after the frenzy of free agency slowed to a crawl but, on the flip side, one of the game’s top young players asking for a trade away from LeBron James and the three-time reigning Eastern Conference champions would always provide fireworks.
One more indication of the magnitude of the story arrived on Monday, when NBA commissioner Adam Silver visited The Rich Eisen Show and was promptly asked about his feelings on the overhaul state of the player movement saga. In short order, he addressed Irving’s situation in Cleveland directly.
Silver’s comments even provided shout-out to a specific media member in Brian Windhorst of ESPN, who broke the initial news.
“I love the interest. I’m not ecstatic about the drama. I feel bad for whatever is going on in Cleveland. And I have no firsthand information but I assume where there is smoke, there is fire. Brian Windhorst (of ESPN) has been cataloging LeBron’s career for a long time and he usually has accurate insights from that team.
It’s upsetting when you see superstar players who have coexisted, who have had so much success together. Obviously, three Finals in a row, one championship. To hear that, for whatever reason, there is a sense that they can’t continue to coexist. I mean, yeah that’s drama, but it’s not necessarily the kind of drama that the league wants.”
It is fairly easy to see that this kind of “drama” provides endless entertainment and intrigue for fans of the league and, while Silver may be wise to avoid saying that, it is the kind of offseason storyline that has greatly aided in the NBA’s rise in prominence over the last several years. While the timing of Irving’s request (at least when it was leaked) is not ideal in any way for the Cavs, it is generally perfect for the league’s news cycle, as it has already provided multiple days of scintillating content in an otherwise dreary period.
Kyrie Irving might begin the season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, simply because the team isn’t forced to trade him and has no incentive to do so unless proper value can be attained. For every day he is on the roster, though, the interest will only skyrocket and, despite what Silver may say publicly, that is good for the league in every market with the exception of Cleveland.